Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition

Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition

Download Editors' Rating:
4
Excellent
Average User Rating:
3.6
out of 546 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    2.0
  • Total Downloads:
    5,323,949
  • Date Added:
    Jul. 16, 2012
  • Price:
    Free; paid upgrade available
  • File Size:
    1.56MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    63,291
  • Platform:
    Windows
  • Product ranking:

Editors' Review

+

The bottom line: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2.0 gets impressive marks for its detection rates, making it a solid dark-horse candidate even though it could be lighter on system impact. However, it still lacks some of the features in other free security suites.

Review:
When it originally debuted, Panda Cloud Antivirus was notable as a free security solution for two reasons: Panda traded on its reputation as a solid security suite vendor making its first foray into the realm of freeware, and the program attained its goal of freeing up system resources by putting much of the program's heavy lifting in the cloud. Now we can add a third reason to the list: it's now known as an effective alternative to the security powerhouses.

Editors' note: Portions of this review are based on CNET's review of Panda Cloud Antivirus Pro 2.0.

Installation
Panda Cloud Antivirus' installation is a simple, trimmed-down affair. The installer could load faster, and takes more than five minutes to install. Part of this is because it's downloading local files for stronger offline protection than before, but that doesn't change that it's not a quick procedure.

You can customize the installation folder, but like many security suites, it also opts you in to several system changes. These include a toolbar, changing your default search provider to Google, and a home page change. While we understand the financial reasons for doing so, that doesn't make having to opt-out (or revert the changes if you didn't notice them) any less annoying.

Interface
Cloud AV's interface retains its gray color scheme and modularized presentation of features for a usable, uncluttered combo. It's easy to navigate, and is blissfully distraction free. However, if you're looking for a suite that exposes a lot of security data in a visually interesting way, you're going to have to look elsewhere.

Your security status sits at the top, a blue shield indicating that your computer is safe, a horizontal green bar graph indicating real-time protection, a magnifying glass to indicate scanning, and indicators for viruses detected and files in Panda's recycle bin. This is all flash, though: it's one big link to the scan utility.

Below that, there's the link to the Firewall, which is grayed out in the free version, the Panda-provided process monitor that uses crowd-sourcing to determine a process's safety, and the USB key "vaccine," which scans USB sticks for threats.

A small globe in the lower right corner lets you configure a proxy connection for the program.

Cloud Antivirus doesn't have the world's most brilliant layout, but it is undeniably clean, simple, and usable without looking archaic.

Features and support
The uncluttered Cloud AV interface belies some useful security tools that make this version much more competitive than before. In version 2.0, Cloud Antivirus Free gets access to the behavioral analysis engine that had previously been only in the Pro version. Other improvements in both versions include a better exposure of how Cloud Antivirus protects you when you're offline, a cloud-based disinfection protocol, and dramatic improvements in scan benchmarking.

It works as other antivirus solutions do, offering a semi-quick scan (called Optimized Scan,) a full scan (called Scan My Computer,) and a custom scan for specific folder, files, and drives. Where ancillary features used to be exceptionally light, they've now begun to fill out -- even in the free version.

You can customize the scans to detect potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), toggle off behavioral detections and analysis, archive file scans, and how the scan reacts to detected threats. There's an exclusion list, and quarantine management, which is the "recycle bin."

As noted above, the process manager uses Panda's crowd-supplied data to help determine if any running processes are malicious. The spreadsheet layout tells you if a process is safe, if it's been signed, and when it was last detected. It'll let you know when a program last accessed the Internet, if it has any restrictions placed on it, and you can double-click on a process to see the list of URLs that it's visited.

Meanwhile, the USB key vaccine can control autorun, a common source of woe, and automatically scan USB drives when connected. It's a simple and effective tool available to both free and paid customers.

Removed from this version of Panda Cloud Antivirus is a global settings window. While you can configure settings on a per-feature basis when you access each one, there's no single settings clearinghouse as there are in most other programs. We didn't find this to be problematic -- once we realized it wasn't there.

If you've paid for a Pro license, you'll get access to Cloud Antivirus' firewall, which supplements the default Windows one. If you're on Windows 7, you won't notice much -- it'll only help with outbound connections, because the default supplies excellent inbound protection -- but on older Windows machines the firewall ought to be very attractive. It comes with program controls, intrusion prevention controls, and presets for Home, Work, and Public Internet connection profiles.

Cloud AV also comes with a browser toolbar for simplified secure searches, browsing data removal, and toolbar cleaning. This last feature will uninstall unwanted toolbars. During our tests, it would not work on removing itself, though.

The free version of Cloud AV 2.0 is a bit light on features when compared with other free suites, while Pro will get you somewhere between an basic and mid-level paid competitor. So why recommend Free at the same level as Pro? It's been surprisingly effective at stopping threats.

Performance
We have to confess that Panda Cloud Antivirus 2.0's benchmarks surprised us. We expected it to leave a small footprint on the system, but not be particularly effective at stopping threats. In fact, the benchmarks tell the opposite tale.

Two independent testing organizations placed Cloud AV 1.5.2, the most recent version for which test results are available, much higher on its efficacy charts than we expected it to be. AV-Test gave Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.5.2 a 14.5 out of 18, a very respectable score. It was made even more noteworthy because it outperformed its cousin, Panda Internet Security, which only earned a 13.5 out of 18.

AV-Comparatives gave the same version of Cloud Antivirus a "Advanced" rating, finding it 97.1 percent effective at blocking threats with minimal false positives.

These positive marks for efficacy stand in contrast to CNET Labs' benchmarks, which found Cloud Antivirus 2.0 to have a more noticeable impact on system performance than previous versions. Computer startup was sluggish, to be mild about it, and shutdown impact was slow, too. Antivirus scans were slow, which tracks with our experience on a real-world computer, and in-program performance was sub-par. Only our Cinebench test found Panda Cloud Antivirus 2.0 to be above-average.

Security program Boot time Shutdown time Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 40 6 n/a 395 120 342 17,711
Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2.0 66.3 18.8 1,510 410 125 349 17,190
Panda Cloud Antivirus Pro 1.3 99 16.7 1,493 401 124 346 17,175

Note: All tests measured in seconds, except for Cinebench. On the Cinebench test, higher numbers are better.

We'd be willing to forgive some of these numbers if our real-world experience didn't track with them, but unfortunately Cloud Antivirus 2.0 presents that rare situation where it's much more effective at keeping you secure than it is at staying out of your computing. While it may not be noticeable during basic browsing tasks, chances are if you're doing any heavy lifting the performance hit will reveal itself.

Conclusions
Had the company decided to make the firewall available in the free version, then it would be easier to see people taking a chance on Panda. It's a good product, but it still feels a bit anemic when compared with more established free suites like AVG and Avast, and Panda's cloud-based thin client doesn't have the name recognition of Microsoft's comparable Security Essentials.

We're glad to see that it's an effective program for keeping you safe, and that ought to attract a lot of people because it's an essential for a security suite. But a small impact on your system is also key, and sadly it's just too large this time around.

 
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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
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  • Current Version

    2.8

    out of 15 votes

    • 5 star 6
    • 4 star 0
    • 3 star 0
    • 2 star 3
    • 1 star 6
  • All Versions

    3.6

    out of 546 votes

    • 5 star 236
    • 4 star 124
    • 3 star 43
    • 2 star 44
    • 1 star 99
  • My rating

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1–10 of 15

5 stars

"Works great for me."

September 26, 2012  |  By jayceop

 |  Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.0

Pros

It's light and does the job for me.

Cons

Couldn't find any.

Summary

I'm going to recommend this to my friends. It's odd people even have install problems or whatnot. I installed PCV on three different machines(win 7) and it's fine. What computer are you guys even running?

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1 stars

"Product Description Sounded Great, EXCEPT ..."

September 24, 2012  |  By jtk456

 |  Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.0

Pros

Seemed to download alright ... But then ...

Cons

After several attempts, several ways, wouldn't install after download. Didn't see any instruction to help in advance of install, nor were any error messages nor info provided with or after download to clue one in as to the problem, or setting change necessary, or compatibility issue, or if a virus already on my system compromised the installation of any new anti-virus software!

So, gave up, did several on-line scans, then downloaded TrendMicro products.

Bottom Line? "Windows Security" is an oxymoron! When an e-mail can halt your system protection or stop it from loading at next boot, & with software never up to speed in fixing Windows ORIGINAL bugs, + all created by their patches & "HotFixes" ... plus the lag-time in every other ancillary program, plug-in, extension, etc. that also needs changing or upgraded whenever other programming changes; well, who needs it?!

No sense supporting people & products that disrespect our time, resources, assets!

Bought an iMac!

Summary

The Panda Products I tried to download just never had the chance to work ... and it;s likely a MS/Windows problem for which Panda didn't compensate ... So, I quit trying.

And after almost 25 years of Beta Testing & invitation to evaluate, report, opine and brainstorm with and for them in both the capacity of individual consumer and business customer/user (PLUS, I'm an MS Stock Holder ... for the moment), I'm suspending support and purchasing of any MS or Windows Products (& the multitude of bugs at time of the version's rushed release, or "built-in" to ensure limited product shelf-life!

Why buy (or keep ... or keep buying!) any product or service that DOESN"T WORK?? If it's flawed or incomplete or vulnerable or will be "unsupported", or billed as automated or "Secure", then isn't (or doesn't KEEP you so) then we didn't buy what we were sold, did we?

Instead, we were sold a VERY limited license for limited use of promised (but nut ever fully delivered) goods or services!

They need to just DISCLOSE that said products either ABSOLUTELY require renewal software subscriptions & eventual hardware replacement ... or a specified date of expiration (like a NON-RELOADABLE Cash Card or Cell Phone, etc.!) At least we could factor that in when buying .... or deciding NOT to buy!

Until then, every company offering products, goods (hard or soft) and/or services connected to MicroSoft and/or Windows, will be just as tenuous.

And that's just bad business, but in any event, if you're NOT going to DE-BUG every failing of Windows Products when releasing your own, well ...

From your product's start, you're not even offering adequate "Security", Panda!

:-/

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5 stars

"best of all"

September 13, 2012  |  By firevampire

 |  Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.0

Pros

does its job without disturbing me

Cons

found none

Summary

one of the best

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2 stars

"Disapointed..."

August 20, 2012  |  By PrashantGogoi

 |  Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.0

Pros

- Good detection and removal

Cons

- High CPU use

Summary

Very disappointing...

Install was Ok; it downloaded required files and all and started an auto scan. Well, it did catch and remove the viruses I knew were there on my system. But that is where it all ended.

After the restart, I was back at my desktop as usual. Opened My Computer and right clicked to do something. The next 10 minutes were spent waiting for the right click menu to appear. Had no option but to cold boot. Tried a number of times with the same result. Every time I performed some action, my system was gone and each time the CPU usage was way above normal. After disabling Panda, I checked my logs and found that Panda was hogging more than 70% of the CPU. Ultimately uninstalled Panda and my system was back to normal.

I was expecting a lot from this software but it was clear that it does have CPU issues. I have a 3.3 Ghz P4 processor, 2GB RAM, 320 GB HDD, a 2 Mbps broadband connection and have installed almost all anti virus softwares under the sun without anything slowing down my system significantly. And I certainly did not expect a could based, lightweight anti virus would bring my system down.
Hope Panda's dev team addresses these issues as I would love to try it once again!

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1 stars

"This is bugged causing high CPU load."

August 06, 2012  |  By techman93

 |  Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.0

Pros

-Free Antivirus
-Fast scan
-Decent protection

Cons

This has a very serious bug it causes CPU usage to sky rocket to 100%. Imagine having a high-end gaming computer go to a crawl. That is exactly what happened to me.

Summary

I would avoid this all together if I were you. Unless they actually fix the problem which I highly doubt it will be fixed any time soon.

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2 stars

"Two of my Antimalware programs flagged it as bad stuff."

July 26, 2012  |  By mikuei

 |  Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.0

Pros

Used to trust anything from Panda, not so sure now.

Cons

No longer want to have software on my system which gets flagged as malware, etc. by most of my trusted anti this & that programs.

Summary

Get with the other guys so they won't shoot you down.

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5 stars

"Good Product."

July 24, 2012  |  By Ancheez

 |  Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.0

Pros

Low system requirements, simple firewall, no annoying popups. Simple settings.

Cons

Nothing special.

Summary

Thanks Panda for free license key.

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1 stars

"Stupid product!!"

July 22, 2012  |  By ThatGuy90

 |  Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.0

Pros

it's light and doesn't slow down the machine.

Cons

error messages every 2 seconds -_____-

Summary

not worth it. it was causing me more problems then good and it didn't work properly.

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1 stars

"Panda Is a Grizzly"

July 22, 2012  |  By ElObomo

 |  Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.0

Pros

Free, except when it jacks up your system, then you pay, and pay, and pay.

Cons

Install problems. Read PC World mag to see the problem they had - several computers took days to complete the installation on + being on the phone for hours with Panda tech people.

Summary

Like to re-format your system? Try running Panda! Used to be a good AV, but thing have changed. I've read they are having financial problems, as well.

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1 stars

"Panda should have a system health warning on it"

July 22, 2012  |  By nrocpop

 |  Version: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.0

Pros

It starts off being lightweight but soon slows down your system and them messes up you system

Cons

I have tried it many times and I always have problems with it. It is known for having plenty of false positives which can be very problematic to your system. I am very skeptical about all the positive reviews????!! Employees/Cronies maybe??? Independent detection rates are slipping downhill.

Summary

Panda is more of a Pig than a cute Panda!!!!!It is very difficult to fully remove from your system. Have fun trying to remove it. Each time I have tried Panda it has removed all my system restore points which is Very Sneaky!!!!!

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Results 1–10 of 15

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Full Specifications

+
What's new in version 2.0
Version 2.0 includes many performance improvements, 50% faster scans and a new cloud-based disinfection engine. A new behavioural engine has been included as well.
General
Publisher Panda Security
Publisher web site http://www.pandasecurity.com
Release Date July 16, 2012
Date Added July 16, 2012
Version 2.0
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Antivirus Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows XP 32-bit, Windows 7 64-bit, Windows 7 32-bit, Windows Vista 32-bit, Windows, Windows Vista 64-bit
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 1.56MB
File Name PANDAFREEAV.exe
Popularity
Total Downloads 5,323,949
Downloads Last Week 63,291
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

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